Thursday, March 8, 2012

Making the non routine, possible!

What puts Zappos and Nordstrom on a completely different orbit when it comes to customer service? Besides an unbelievable ability to understand their customer, it also is their knack to handle the non routine. A non routine query from a customer can be best defined as a request from a customer asking a service provider to go beyond laid down offerings and processes. This is where most brands get a shot at instant immortality in the minds of the consumer. And companies who do this with great aplomb are the ones who have a plan. A plan that may involve limitless employee empowerment or well distributed resources.  So even though we know, that fulfilling these queries can create customer satisfaction like never before, companies need to ask themselves this; how tenable is developing a strategy for handling a non routine query?

While planning such a strategy companies need to look at the financial burden that they might be taking on. Completing a non routine query can involve a cost which your business could not have accounted for. Preparing for these costs make it a tricky financial proposition. This leads us straight into another quandary a company faces; how do you empower your employee to handle these queries? Drawing the line for how much discretion you can trust your employee with is never easy. It involves a great amount of training and also smart recruiting. Employees have to buy into your brand philosophy or be trained to execute it to perfection. When you are past the monetary and employee capability conundrums, you will have to ask yourself if you can truly sustain such an effort. Changing track midway and not delivering on such queries can lead to a loss of goodwill as customers will immediately sense something is out of place. From that point on, getting back in the good books of the customer may take a greater effort.

So to sum it up, the three key requisites are: financial ability, employee empowerment and sustainability. These are by no stretch of imagination, the only questions you need to ask. A lot of it comes down to top management will and operational nous. The results are there for all to see, the commitment is what you need to ensure. So are you ready to become a Zappos or a Nordstrom? Now that, is not a non routine query!   

1 comment:

  1. Companies sometimes shy away from non-routine demands because either Customers or Employees misuse.

    One way of keeping a check on this is to register / catalogue these requests both by Customer and Employee so that one can monitor.

    I have seen sometimes there are non-routine demands from customers which does not cost the company big money to service but makes the customer very happy. Few examples in this would be excess baggage by 1 kg or a request for Demand Draft in a bank 1 minute after the bank closing hours or a person asks for a cup of water in a restauarnt and they tell him to go and drink from the tap in the rest room because they want to sell mineral water which does not contain any minerals.

    Many customers do not complain. They just do not come back to that store again.